Editorial: When New Roads Hurt Commuters


You could say that those who design new and expanded roads are often in a very precarious position. They have to decide what’s best for the masses while still working around existing construction. Sometimes, though, this means blocking off access where it currently exists or displeasing some local residents. But is a new or expanded road really worth it if it’s less accessible than before?

Well, that’s up for debate–to answer this question, I’m going to be referring to three specific (and arguably minor) examples for when roads are made less accessible with new construction or when new roads are just unpleasant for residents in a certain area…

My first example is the new Chisholm Trail Parkway in Fort Worth. Last month, the new tollway cut direct access to I-30 for many residents of adjacent neighborhoods. And this isn’t just going to last for the span of construction–it’s gone forever.

Blocking access to a major interstate highway to build a road which is solely pay-to-use? How is this a good thing?

My next two examples deal with the North Tarrant Express project. Earlier this year, the Beach Street exit on westbound Northeast Loop 820 was shut down for good. It’s going to remain this way, too, with commuters having to take the Haltom Road exit to access it. Again, how is this helping us?

My last example is quite different, and probably more of a sympathetic complaint than anything. For certain residents of Hurst, the view past their front yards isn’t very pretty. Seriously, if you live right off the Airport Freeway in that area, all you can probably see and hear is major road construction. I feel sorry for those residents because I know how much I would hate to incessantly have a yard full of bulldozers and dirt. And it’s all just to build a road that’s going to be partially tolled in the end.

So, readers, I’d like to hear what you have to say about these kinds of scenarios. Should residents and commuters have more of a voice in road development, or are certain trade-offs necessary?